Open thread, Game 7

I’m rooting for Huddy and the Royals. Mostly I’m rooting for a helluva game.

For Braves fans, the words Game 7 call to mind the agony of defeat in ’91 World Series. followed by the thrill of victory in the ’92 NLCS.

The “other” Game 7s are somewhat forgotten, but, unlike so many other October moments, warmly remembered.

Game 7, 1991 NLCS

There was an air of inevitably about this game, one apparently shared by Pirates fans. Only 46,932 turned out for Game 7, about 10,000 shy of capacity. I’m not sure why they were so defeated. Yes, the Braves won a thriller in Game 6 behind Steve Avery’s second combined shutout of the series. But the Bucs had won the two previous games, 1-0 and 3-2, in Atlanta and had 20-game winner John Smiley on the mound vs. Smoltzie.

Maybe the pessimism can be traced to Smiley’s poor performance in Game 3, when the Braves knocked him out in the 3rd inning. Turns out it was well-placed, thanks to a Brian Hunter homer that put the Braves up 3-0 in the first. Consecutive singles by Orlando Merced and Jay Bell made us a little nervous, but Smoltz put that rally to rest en route to the Braves’ second straight shutout.

Game 7, 1996 NLCS

Winning a championship the year before gave Braves fans something we haven’t felt since: confidence in October. It was shaken a bit when the Cards won Games 2, 3 and 4 but restored after a 14-0 rout in Game 5. That was followed by vintage Maddux in Game 6, a 3-1 Braves win.

As in ’91, the game was over after the 1st. A bases-clearing triple by Tom Glavine put the dagger in Donovan Osborne’s heart.

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11 comments

  1. Fortunate enough to have both these games on DVD – the last three games of that ’96 NLCS are a joy to watch.

    Great call by Jack Buck at the end of the Game 6 in the ’91 NLCS when Pena freezes Van Slyke with the change-up to end it.

  2. I have those games on VHS. Actually, I recorded all of the playoff games until about ’98. If I’m ever feeling down, I can just pop in the tape of the division clinching ’91 game and champagne celebration to give me a boost.

    Very entertaining series and playoffs as a whole. Was rooting for the Royals, and for Huddy to do well, but Bumgarner was an old school beast. Kudos to him, although for a moment it looked as if Greg White was going to become the new version of Bill Buckner or Mickey Owen.

  3. I actually managed to get my hands on all the Braves playoff games from ’91-present. The ’99 NLDS vs. Houston took me a couple years to track down, but I was finally able to get everything copied over to DVD with commercials edited out.

  4. I don’t… I actually have a DVD player as part of the head unit for my stereo in my truck. So, I aimed to put the games on DVD so I could relive the old games while I drive. I know – safe, right?

    The 1996 NLDS vs. the Dodgers is another fun series.

  5. I will say… anybody who can produce any of my missing bobbleheads from years past, I can be talked into making copies of about anything. I collect all the bobbleheads for my son’s room to match his scoreboard. I showed you guys what I did to his bedroom wall last winter, right?

  6. Smoltz’s dominant win over the Bucs is a deeply cherished memory.

    I love the scoreboard, Duane.

    This season, I was going to be okay with any result that didn’t involve the Nationals advancing. I’m happy for Huddy, like I was for David Ross last season.

  7. I’m happy that Huddy finally got a ring; I wish he hadn’t gotten pulled so early though, as I’m sure that makes it a little bittersweet for him as well.

  8. I was thinking that, too, but judging from the postgame pics of him, I think he took it al in stride.

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